Morale, Resale Programs Reach Out to Reserve-Component Families
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 17, 2008 Military Resale and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs are working to support members of the military community regardless of their proximity to installations, a defense official told the House Armed Services Committee today.
“Our Resale and MWR programs are more effectively reaching out to our active-duty, Guard and reserve families, our retirees, the digital generation of our members, and our military spouses who work,” said Leslye A. Arsht, deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy.
Part of that MWR outreach will benefit what Arsht described as “far-flung military members and families.”
Access to books and other educational materials will be available through the Military OneSource Web site and the services’ library portals. In addition, Internet speed, reliability and access have been enhanced, she said. These moves make it easier for deployed servicemembers who communicate with family and friends via Internet applications like YouTube and Facebook.
Extending opportunities for families of deployed Guard and reserve members to access facilities that promote physical health and well-being also is a goal of the Military Community and Family Policy’s MWR program.
“To expand the MWR benefit for families of deployed Guard and reserve members, we will buy … family memberships to fitness and recreation centers in local communities,” Arsht said.
Another benefit expansion came as a direct request from the president in his State of the Union address, she said. He asked that Congress support more child care and educational opportunities for military families.
“With the help of enabling legislation, we plan to increase the availability of affordable child care by further accelerating on-base construction programs and by creating more partnerships for child care in communities outside the gate,” Arsht said. “We are also expanding spouse career and education opportunities.”
The deputy undersecretary went on to say that commissary and exchange leaders have renewed their commitment to work together to better serve their customers. Past joint sales events have attracted families from surrounding communities, including retirees, to retail complexes on military installations.
The Defense Commissary Agency initiated these prototype events at Guard and reserve locations last year. The plan is, with exchange cooperation, to increase the number of events held this year.
Arsht thanked Congress, MWR and Resale employees and industry partners for their willingness to work together to sustain these essential programs.
“We will need your continued support as we adapt our programs to better serve the deployed Guard and reserve communities and implement the president’s initiatives for military families,” she concluded.